Why the hell don’t pitch marks (ball marks) on greens get fixed?!?!

Gay Brewer Jr. Course at Picadome is a gem of an old-style, fun golf course. It's terribly sad what is happening on the greens.

Gay Brewer Jr. Course at Picadome is a gem of an old-style, fun golf course. It’s terribly sad what is happening on the greens.

I love my home course.  It’s a nearly 100 year-old parkland layout, replete with narrow, tree-lined fairways, deceivingly subtle elevation changes, and sloping, postage stamp greens.

It’s our only local municipal course that lies inside our city’s “inner loop,” mere minutes from downtown and less than a mile (as the crow flies) from the University of Kentucky.

So, in addition to loyal enthusiasts like myself, the course plays hosts to high school matches, bright-eyed beginners, frat boy get-away days,  and your high handicap casual golfers.

And the course is dying.

It’s not acutely suffering from the decline of the golf industry.  There’s no mysterious fungus eating away at the turf root systems.  And save for the now-annual deep freezes and the Emerald Ash Borer, the trees are all in decent shape.

I'm proud to claim this particular pitch mark. I made the putt and fixed my ball mark with a divot tool, all in under 20 seconds.

I’m proud to claim this particular pitch mark. I made the putt and fixed my ball mark with a divot tool, all in under 20 seconds.

No, the course is dying a slow and terrible death from the golfers…the ones that don’t, won’t, can’t,  don’t know to or don’t know how to repair their pitch marks.

We see it at nearly every course; greens littered with un-repaired ball marks that leave those ugly holes in the surface where smooth turf used to reside.  But for at least a few years now, it has been an epidemic at the Gay Brewer Jr. Course at Picadome.

Maybe the outsized effect is a product of how small the greens are at this course in particular, so that fewer pitch marks make a larger relative impact.  Or maybe it’s just the reality of municipal course golf.

But I’ve never seen a golf course so eaten up with these monuments to laziness and selfishness.  There are three or four greens that cause me to shake my head in disgust and mumble things under my breath that would make Richard Pryor blush every single time I set foot on them because I can’t believe what I see.

I think much of my frustration, other than the obvious Plinko Board effect on the putting surface, is that this kind of damage is completely preventable. With a minimum of effort.  Seriously minimal effort, actually.

What could be the possible excuses running through a “golfer’s” mind for not fixing a ball mark on the green?  Here are the Top 10 Bull$%^#! excuses I would expect to hear from someone who doesn’t repair pitch marks on greens:

  • I don't see this sign as much as I used to.  I wish the City could afford to put them next to every green at Picadome.

    I don’t see this sign as much as I used to. I wish the City could afford to put them next to every green at Picadome.

    I didn’t know I made a pitch mark on the green –  Bull$%^t! If you hit the green with your ball, it made a pitch mark. Look for it if you were lucky enough to hit anywhere near your target.

  • I couldn’t see the mark because of my poor eyesight –  Bull$%^t!  If you can see the hole, you can see a dime or quarter-sized dent in the green that isn’t supposed to be there.
  • I didn’t know I was supposed to fix it –  Bull$%^t!  Even if you don’t know basic golf etiquette, there are signs on every golf course in America asking/directing/pleading with you to fix your ball marks on the green.  Plus, would you want to putt through that thing?  Think Golden Rule.
  • I didn’t know how to fix it –  Bull$%^t! There’s a dent in the green.  Even if you’ve never read one of those posters that explain the proper way to fix a ball mark, poke around down there and flatten it back out with your putter until there isn’t a dent in the green.  It’s not rocket science.
  • Just in case you're confused what I'm ranting about, this is from the same picture above, with the old, unrepaired pitch marks circled for you.

    Just in case you’re confused what I’m ranting about, this is from the same picture above, with the old, unrepaired pitch marks circled for you.

    I’m too old to bend over to fix it –  Bull$%^t!  If you’re fit enough to hit the ball hard enough to hit the green in the air, then you’re in good enough shape to bend over and fix your ball mark.  If not, how’d you get those fancy wingtip golf shoes on before the round today?

  • I was too drunk to fix it –  Bull$%^t!  If that’s true, it’s past time to go home, so get the f@%& off the golf course.
  • I don’t have a fancy divot tool to fix it –  Bull$%^#!  You don’t need a $32 souvenir from Pebble Beach to fix a ball mark.  If you have a tee in your pocket, you have all the divot tool that you need.
  • I don’t have time to fix my ball marks –  Bull$%^t!  For a really big, deep pitch mark, fixing it takes 5 seconds. Maximum. And we saw you walking off both sides of your four-foot putt, a$$hole.
  • I’m not on the maintenance staff, it’s not my job –  Bull$%^t!  No, it IS YOUR responsibility.  I’ve worked on grounds crew at two courses, and the first thing that happens in the morning is that the greens get mowed (usually in the dark).  The low-slung reel blade greens mowers will scalp anything and everything that is more than 1/16 of an inch above the rest of the surface, and the guys running mowers don’t have time to spend 20 minutes fixing all the marks on a green before they mow it.
  • I just don’t care enough to fix it –  Bull$%^#!  You are the worst kind of person.  Just stop.

So, please, if you play golf, especially if you play at the Gay Brewer Jr. Course at Picadome, when you are fortunate enough to have your ball land on the green, repair your ball mark.  Consider it your good deed for the day.

Be grateful to the golf gods for smiling on you, and pay homage to them by fixing the putting surface.  If you stay in their good graces, you may have the opportunity to repeat the experience.

If you don’t actually know how to fix a pitch mark on a green, please take a look at this brief video demonstrating the proper way to repair the putting surface.  It really isn’t hard, and even if you do it wrong, the green will probably be in better shape than if you left the mark unrepaired.  And if you have any questions, ask your local golf pro, they’ll appreciate that you asked and won’t mind demonstrating the proper method for you.

 

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7 thoughts on “Why the hell don’t pitch marks (ball marks) on greens get fixed?!?!

  1. David

    I completely agree! We have the same challenges on my home course as well. I generally fix any ball mark I see and sometimes I spend more time doing that, then lining up my putt! Great post!

    Cheers
    Jim

    Like

  2. David

    I agree 100%. We are going to win the battle sooner or later even if it takes my employees to win it in the afternoons. Thanks

    Aaron

    Like

  3. Dave, totally agree and I think bullets #3 and #4 are the chief culprits. When I was a youth, one of the first things they taught us in golf camp was fixing ball marks. I suspect most folks who have not been instructed on the game did not learn that they were supposed to fix them. Sounds ridiculous but it’s probably true. Great post; thanks!

    Brian

    Like

  4. Pingback: A more satisfying way to putt: Stop reading too much break. And don’t leave it short! | One Bearded Golfer

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